May Primary elections have been concluded. I was on the winning and losing side so it was bittersweet. On a purely sweet note, we have a brief moment which four-way stops and guard rails will be free from political signs. Blink your eyes; okay that moment has passed. August is approaching and along with its uncomfortable humidity comes the heat of local general elections. While many seats will go uncontested there is little doubt, in this writer's opinion, the Republican Party has a superior slate of qualified candidates.
First to the batter's box is current Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw. Judge Philyaw has transformed our Juvenile Court. Since taking office, Judge Philyaw has begun implementing programs to help area children and strengthen families. Only a few days after being appointed by the County Commission, Judge Philyaw and I sat down for coffee to discuss his new position. I saw the passion he has for children then and I've seen it every time since. He certainly deserves re-election.
Next to bat is one of the most sincere people running for any office - Steve Smith for Public Defender. Steve and I carpooled on a daylong trip to meet with our state delegation in Nashville. That day and many since he has shared his thoughts and vision with me. As a longtime assistant district attorney Steve has worked to put criminals in prison and see justice properly served. Continuing that public service, Steve Smith is campaigning for public defender. Steve will tackle the prominent problem of a disorganized and fiscally mismanaged public defender's office. Steve has reminded me that everyone deserves their day in court; that's the beauty of our American Constitution. Of course, not everyone can afford the services of a private attorney and that's when the public defender's office steps up to serve. Steve wants to prioritize this office around public service. Hamilton County deserves a public defender like my friend Steve Smith.
To load the bases is the County Commission races of Joe Graham and Sabrena Turner. Joe Graham has proved a well needed maverick on the Commission. He doesn't fall in-step but asks questions as a responsible commissioner should. Joe isn't a rubber stamp on spending. He studies proposals funded at taxpayers' expense to see if they are truly needed and is staunchly opposed to tax increases to funded expanding government. His returning leadership will be a great asset to the County Commission. Sabrena Turner is no stranger to taking a stand on principle. She has taken on the annex-hungry Chattanooga city government. She's built her own business from the ground up. Sabrena understands balancing a budget and responsible spending. Her experience will be a great asset to the commission.
With bases loaded Vince Dean is going to hit a home run as he seeks the office of Criminal Court clerk. Vince has decades of experience in public service; including a career in law enforcement. He's tackled tough legislative decisions on both local and state levels as mayor of East Ridge and a state representative. Vince understands the Criminal Court clerk's office needs a transformation in order to be efficient and more user friendly.
This August will see the Republican Party hit a grand slam. Hamilton County just keeps improving under Republican leadership.
One closing thought. Tuesday saw some 16,000 Republican Primary voters. There's not been a Republican event to bring anywhere near that number. Understand, the Republican Party isn't solely comprised of a group that meets for lunch. It's men and women that go to work, soccer games, softball practice, school and church events. They couldn't tell you who the local party chair is nor come close to caring. They don't keep up with who's in what power group. They want limited government intrusion in their lives. They want reasonable taxes coupled with responsible government spending. They are the real Republican Party and I'm proud to be in that group.